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Queen Coal? Why Remember Women of the 1984/85 Miners' Strike

Positive Responses to Women's Campaigning

The extracts below are from interviews recorded with 47 miners' wives who were active in the 'Women Against Pit Closures' movement. The interviews are held by the Women's Library, London in The Betty Heathfield Papers.

 

'Women should be equal':

"We've become feminists in our own kind of way but we’re not true feminists . . . I like my old man to still know he’s boss. I’ve got mixed feeling because now I want to be equal to him, but I want him to still wear the trousers in the house.


"Before the strike, if I’d have known I was going to talk to some lesbians, I’d have died. But they’re only like us. They are normal people. They are just like you and me. And they talk like you and me. That’s something I've learned. I could never be a true feminist. Honest. Although I think women should be equal. And be as equal. I’d never go down the pits! I'm a coward!"


From 'housebound' housewife to campaigner:

"Before the strike, I was housebound. I could only go out in my wheelchair when my husband came home from work of my kids came home from school. But the girls in the Support Group have taken me to every part of the country in rallies that I would have said ‘Ooh no. Impossible. I could never . . .’


"There have been no obstacles in the way. And that is true friendship. It is not because they thought they were doing me a blood favour. They said ‘You are secretary of the group. You’ve got to come along. Those wheels have got to be your spare legs’. And they’ve taken me to every single where.


"Now it’s over and I can’t afford to let these girls go. Because to me they’re everything. We’re going to Blackpool in September. I’ve never been to Blackpool in my bloody life. They don’t want a bloody old dog like me in a wheelchair. But they’re bloody taking me."

 

Listen to the audio clip ' Women Against Pit Closures'  (using the link below).


View other relevant My Learning resources or see the teachers' notes page for discussion and activity ideas.


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Document icon Learning article provided by: National Coal Mining Museum for England | 

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